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    Middle School Art

     Always dedicate your energy and efforts to those things that will help you become a better person.

    The foundation of character is SELF DISCIPLINE.




    It has been said that “The future of the world is in my classroom today, a future with the potential for good or bad.” (Ivan Welton Fitzwater). 

    I believe that teachers can facilitate routines to fuel rigorous, spontaneous, and artful teaching/learning practices in which students’ artistic and creative exploration and growth are of primary importance. In the art room we will use qualitative assessments as opportunities focus our attention on broad concepts, habits, dispositions, and events that are indicators of the most important aspects of student’s and teacher’s creative and artistic practice and some formative assessments, i.e. quizzes/tests. I use qualitative assessment design as a means of gathering information about student learning in order to fuel each student in idea development and artistic process. My first task as a teacher-facilitator is to attempt to identity what matters most for students to learn and then find ways to document and describe the qualities of experiences that unfold in the journey of learning. Secondly, I remain open to all of the rich experiences that will unfold in collaboration with students, especially those that I could not predict. Even as I attempt to pre-plan what matters most, I recognize that I cannot predetermine all that each student will learn. Furthermore, my information gathering teaches me what students find to be most important and most interesting about their experiences. My pedagogical orientation keeps me attune, awake, and listening to what students are learning. My assessment practice is rooted in gathering this information. I remain open to what students bring to the learning experience and what transpires in the real-time bustle of the studio classroom experience. Assessment is a back and forth process of gathering information as the story unfolds. Together, we assess what matters most, not what is easiest. We use the information we gather (students and teacher as collaborators) as an integral part of creative idea development. In this way, our assessment process is aligned with what we believe about art education. It is a contemporary, emergent process.


    1971 Escher solves Roger Penrose's puzzle

    Classroom Management Plan

    The methods and procedures I will use to ensure that my classroom has the most conducive environment for teaching and learning to take place are organized within a framework divided into four categories.  These categories must work in consort with each other, and are separate parts of a whole.  The categories are: Expectations, both of my students and of myself as a teacher; the classroom environment; the daily routine; and behavior management.


    As a teacher I have certain expectations of the students when they are in the classroom.  These expectations are as follows.

    Respect: The student is the highest priority in the classroom and as my highest priority for classroom management, I always keep in mind that students have a basic right to learn without being disrupted by others.  Therefore, students are expected to be respectful to the teacher and to other students.  They are also expected to show respect for the property of others, the classroom and themselves.  You could break respect down into basic rules, such as, ‘no talking when the teacher is talking’, ‘no making fun of others’ projects’ etc., but expectation number one is: Respect others, yourself and property.

    Be prepared and Productive: My second expectation is for students to come to class prepared so that they can work to their highest potential.  Tied in with this expectation is that students are expected to be productive during the entire class period.

    Be Safe: There are many things in the art room that can cause injury or could make you sick (e.g. different paints, adhesives, etc.). Because of this, the last, but equally important expectation is that student’s practice safety with the materials and the equipment in the art room at all times.

    Interesting Lessons: In addition to expectations of students, I place the expectation on myself as a teacher to always create lessons and provide learning materials which are stimulating, meet the student’s needs and push the students to be the best that they can be. 



    Classroom Environment

    As a teacher, I will make sure that the classroom is uncluttered and clean to provide a space that is pleasant and easy to work in.  I will decorate the room with student creations, highlighting student artwork that is exceptional, providing recognition for students who put forth their best effort.  Work space should be arranged so students can work cooperatively, yet allow for a free traffic flow and visibility for students when I am demonstrating or presenting information.  I will also ask that in general, noise be kept at a minimum, as I have discovered that even though it is nice for students to be allowed to socialize, they are not as productive as they could be when they work quietly.



    Daily Routine

    I will develop a daily routine for students so that every minute of the class period is productive and there is no ‘down time’, the time when students often get themselves in trouble.  Students will wait for my instructions before they begin a project.  They will be expected to clean up after themselves as well as help their classmates with cleanup if they finish early.  They will also be responsible for putting away their assignments in their proper storage areas and will be excused only after the art room is cleaned up and everything is in its proper place.


    Misbehavior is disruptive to learning and teaching.  It will be dealt with consistently with consequences that will be reviewed on the first day of class.  The art room will follow the Middle School discipline policy:

    1st offense: verbal warning as well as oral statement of the rule that is being ignored.

    2nd offense: Student who is misbehaving will be given a written discipline report which is sent to the office.

    3rd offense: Student may be moved to a ‘time out’ area of the room as well as given a worksheet to be completed by the end of the period.

    4th offense:  A phone call will be made to the student’s parents.

    Good Behavior will also be recognized in my classroom.  When students are behaving positively and being productive, I will recognize them, verbally pointing out to the class that I am happy with how those particular students are acting. 

    In general, I would like my classroom to be a welcoming, safe and happy environment for all students to be able to participate in.  This, however does not mean that students should feel that art class is a free for all, goof off period, as I have witnessed in some of my observations.  Therefore, I will make all of my above procedures clear from the first day of class and be firm and consistent when it comes to maintaining the environment I feel is most conducive to learning and teaching art.

    PROJECT GRADES: in general, projects will be assessed on the following five criteria:

    • CRAFTSMANSHIP: the degree of skill and clarity by which the student uses/practices when using different art making media
    • ORIGINALITY: novel and unique solutions to assigned problems
    • COMPOSITION: selecting and organizing the elements of art in a piece of art work so that it works together as a whole.
    • EFFORT: degree of effort applied to the project.
    • MEETING THE OBJECTIVE OF THE PROJECT: All work must meet the objectives as stated by the teacher at the beginning of the project.

    DUE DATES: In general, grades for projects not turned in on the due date will be lowered 10% per SCHOOL DAY at the discretion of the art teacher (no more than 10% per day)

     CLASS PARTICIPATION– participation grades will be given based on the following:

    • Attendance – students who miss class will be expected to make up work
    • Timeliness to class
    • Preparedness for class
    • Focus in class
    • Treatment of studio environment

    HOMEWORK GRADES may include: sketches, quality drawings, reports, and written critiques.



    • 93%-100% = A 90%-92% = A-              
    • 87%-89% = B+ 83%-86% = B
    • 80%-82% = B- 73%-76% = C                67%-69% = D+
      77%-79% = C+                   70%-72% = C-               64%-66% = D
    • Below 64% = F




    Ten Lessons the Arts Teach

    by Elliot Eisner,

    Emeritus professor of Art and Education at Stanford University.


    The arts teach students to make good judgments about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.

    The arts teach students that problems can have more than one solution, and that questions can have more than one answer.


    The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.


    The arts teach students that in complex forms of problem solving, purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.


    The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor number exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.


    The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects.  The arts traffic in subtleties.


    The arts teach students to think through and within a material.  All art forms employ some means through which images become real.


    The arts help students learn to say what cannot be said.  When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.


    The arts enable us to have experiences we can have from no other source, and through such experience discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.


    The arts’ position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.






    Helping Your Child Succeed in Art

      In art classes, your child is:

    • working with a variety of materials and making many kinds of art.
    • studying artwork made in other times and places.
    • Discussing the importance of art in everyday life.
    • discussing the meaning and significance of artworks.

    Here are some ways you can help your child learn more: 

    1. Provide a space where your child can make art.
    2. Talk about what your child is learning in art. Remember: Each art lesson is part of a learning process. Your child may or may not be talented in art, but he or she can still learn a lot from each lesson.
    3. Visit special places where art can be seen:  sculpture in parks, planned gardens, historical buildings, homes of friends or family who create art or crafts, art museums, art galleries, craft shops.
    4. Visit the library. Encourage your child to read books about art and artists.
    5. Talk about the way art is used to sell things:  Discuss how package designs and displays in stores are planned to appeal to shoppers.
    6. Point out the places artwork is used every day:  in billboards, posters, newspapers, on the computer, in movies, and magazines.
    7. If you have a special interest in art, ask your child’s art teacher or principal how you can help the school art program.

    Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in School

    You can help communicate better study habits to your child by:

    1. Providing a consistent sleep schedule. (Young adolescents need eight hours of sleep.)
    2. Providing a well-balanced diet.
    3. Establishing a schedule that permits ample time to get ready for school and results in a timely school arrival.
    4. Encouraging your child to set aside time for daily homework and reading.
    5. Providing a quiet, comfortable place without distractions for study.
    6. Encouraging your child to make wise television viewing choices.
    7. Asking in a variety of ways about daily homework assignments.
    8. Comparing your child’s progress to his or her abilities instead of to siblings or other children.
    9. Praising your child when homework/responsibilities are completed.
    10. Providing necessary supplies such as pencils, paper, pencil sharpener, eraser, scissors, dictionary, ruler, etc.
    11. Telling your young adolescent that you expect him or her to do homework independently, but that you are available if help is needed.
    12. Providing transportation to the library or other resource areas when assignments require reference materials.
    13. Providing a place where completed work can be stored safely (a folder, a shelf, or a drawer).
    14. Discussing homework assignments and providing hints when necessary.
    15. Becoming actively involved in homework when teachers have requested family/student interaction.



    The art program can use supplies that you might have and no longer need. We welcome contributions of clean, non-toxic supplies such as, but not limited to, the following:

    • ribbon and yarn remnants
    • buttons, beads, old junk jewelry
    • Styrofoam trays, large packing materials (not peanuts)
    • plastic containers with lids
    • leftover scrapbooking materials
    • old keys, clock or watch parts
    • corks, bottle caps
    • sponges
    • puzzle pieces, old toy parts
    • cancelled stamps
    • magazines, postcards, or old books with artworks/pictures
    • scrapbook paper, sandpaper
    • wood scraps
    • spools
    • dowels/rods/skewers
    • wire coat hangers, easy-to-bend wire

    Typical uses of the materials listed above are printmaking, assemblage, collage, models, crafts, and sculpture. Your contributions would be greatly appreciated. Donations, marked "ART", can be made to the front office any time. 


    Mrs. Barrasso BS, MEd